M.K. Harikumar is a leading critic, poet and columnist of modern Malayalam literature. He was born at Koothattukulam a typical hamlet of Kerala (Ernakulam district) on 30th July 1962. Apart from his unconventional and assertive style of writing, Harikumar is also known for his objectivity, distinctive thought process and selection of subjects
Harikumar was in the lime light with his very first book, “Aathmayangalude Khasak” (1984). It was an in-depth analytical study of late O V Vijayan’s path-breaking novel “Khasakkinte Ithihasam”. The work won him many an award and accolade.
He had his schooling at the local Government School and later joined Deva Matha College at nearby Kuravilangadu for his graduation in economics. He had his postgraduation from Nirmala College, Moovattupuzha.
The literary sparks in him were evident during his school days itself. He wrote and presented plays on stage during his upper primary school days. He was equally good at sports. But he chose the world of letters along with his academic career. He had a small stint as teacher handling Malayalam and English classes in a private college.
A voracious reader, Harikumar has over the years traversed through the length, breadth and depths of literature even as he continued his writing. Meanwhile for earning a living he aptly chose journalism as a profession, initially as a free lancer, and then joining some of the leading vernacular dailies like “Mangalam ''and ''Kerala Kaumudi''.
Harikumar has gone through a rough patch of uncertainty in life after his college days mainly on account of his self-inflicted indecisiveness. Even as he strived to prove his journalistic talents while working as a sub editor, Desk Chief and Bureu Chief in the vernacular dailies, his passion for creative writing haunted him like an invincible spirit. There was a stage during which he even feared whether he would ever write again anything other than the conventional news or rewrite the reader’s mails.
In Kerala Kaumudi, he joined as a reporter, and later became Bureau Chief in Ernakulam. He learned to live frugally with his income along with a nucleus family of his own..But the writer in him was restless in the cage of journalistic profession. .By this time, he published quite a lot of articles of his own in leading periodicals.
His regular column “Aksharajaalakam” in Kerala Kaumudi and Kalakaumudi soon became very popular. This earned him the widest spectrum of readers on account of its sharpness, punch and gravity. This column also helped him to be recognized as a serious critic in Malayalam literature
Entry into serious writing
His real entry into serious writing was with presenting an introduction for “Three stories”, a compilation of short stories by three upcoming young writers, namely Subhash Charvaka, Rishi Natesh and Monsi Joseph. The introductory piece was titled “Oru Nischalathayude Nimishavum, Oru Nisabdadayude Nimishavum”(A moment of stillness and a moment of silence)
The biggest break in his sprouting literary career was the publication of “Aathmayanangalude Khasak” in1984. Even today it is considered as the one and only serious study into O V Vijayan’s renowned novel, “Khasakkinte Ithihasam”. This was written while he was studying for post graduation.
Most acclaimed works
“Aathmayanangalude Khasak” had many firsts to its credit: It was the first critical book in Malayalam exclusively about a Malayalam novel, it was the first book about O.V. Vijayan, and it was the first book on “Khazakhinte Ithihasam”. In fact this young writer hailing from an obscure village had no other way but to sell a piece of his ancestral property to get the book published!
O V Vijayan, after going through the book wrote to Harikumar “This book makes me humble; though there is an attempt to overindulge in the ecstasy of language, the minute insights by the author is amazing”
“Manushyambaraanthangal” (Horizons of human mind) Next major book by Harikumar hit literary Kerala in 1989 arousing a little bit of controversy revolving round its title. The was coined by Harikumar himself combining two words-Manushayan referring to man and Ambaram referring to sky. The criticism was that there is no such word in Malayalam language and literature.
Other major works
In 1995, Harikumar took up a study under a scholarship of the Kerala Sahithya Academy on the “Creativity of ego element” in Malayalam stories. It was a through analysis the works of leading writers like Thakazhi, Ponkunnam Varkey, Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer, M T Vasudevan Nair, N Mohanan, O V Vijayan, Anand and N S Madhavan. It was later published under the title “Ahambodhathinte Sargatmkatha”
He has also written seriously about writers of the post modern era. These were the pieces he wrote in “Katha” magazine during 1992-95 period. Later they were compiled and published under the title “Katha Adunikathakku Sesham” (Stories in the Post Modern Era). The works of writers including Sara Joseph, Methil Radhakrishnan, Pattathuviala karunakaran, V P Sivakumar, M Sukumaran, U P Jayaraj, Jayanarayanan, and Manasi were subjected to close study.
His other works include “Veenapoovu Kaavyangalkku Munpe” which is a critical study of “Veenapoovu” of Mahakavi Kumaranasan, “Puthiya Kavithayude Darsanam”, an enquiry into the new generation poetry, “Akshara Jaalakam”, a compilation of his column in Kerala kaumudi and Kalakaumudi, “Navaadwaitham, a study of O V Vijayan’s novels, , chinthakalkitayile salabham, ente manifesto[ harikumar's literary philosophy].
In 1995 Harikumar, with his group of close friends instituted an Award under the title ''Aathmayananagalude Khazak Award” for the Latest Trends in Malayalam Literature. The award is now in its 15th year without interruption.
He has won Kerala Sahitya academy's Vilasini award [ rs 50000 and citation] in 2009.
Another important achievement is India Government's Fellowship in literature in 2000.
He is selected as the decade's best Malayalam columnist by Express Herald online newspaper in America in 2010.
Foray into blogging
Apart from his active literary pursuits, Harikumar has of late successfully forayed into blogging. A tour over his array of blogs both in English and Malayalam is an enriching experience. These blogs have a commendable assortment of poems, interviews, literary reviews and thematic picture galleries.
His own literary philosophy
Also he has started a publishing house under the banner Bluemango Books. It has already published original works and translations of many an upcoming writer and poet. Bluemango has also instituted annual award to the best student writer. This versatile literary activist has also launched an ambitious mission to plant about one crore trees all over the globe.
He lives with his wife Anitha, and two daughters, Malavika and Hima at Tripunithura. His evenings are totally devoted for his family
books of m k harikmar
- 1] Ahambodhaththinte sargathmakatha ;deep look in the short stories of malayalam writers, viz.. Thakazhi, Basheer, Ponkunnam Varkey, Pattathuvila, N Mohanan, M T Vasudevan Nair, O V Vijayan…
- 2] Aathmayangngalude Khasakk in 1984, 1005, 2005
- 3] Manushyaambaranthangal (The horizons of human mind 1989) -Metaphysical ideas and thoughts to capture the ecstasy of writing
- 4] Kadha adhunikathakku sesham (2000) - A resourceful critical insight into post- modern Malayalam short story criticism in 2000
- 5]Puthiya kavithayude darsanam (2001)- Philosophical probe into the character and content of contemporary Malayalam Poetry
- 6]Veenapoovu kaavyangngalkku munpe (2002)-A critical analysis of 'Veenapoovu', the acclaimed poem of Kumaranasan
- 7]Akshara jaalakam. (2003) An anthology of articles published in Kerala kaumudi and Kala kaumudi
- 8]Navadwaitham- vijayante novalukalilude :an inquiry in to the works of o v vijayan [ 2006]
- 9] ente manifesto . philosophy of navadwaitham 2010
- 10 ] maraviyute nirmanam . philosophy of navadwaitham 2011
- 11] pranayagniyumayi kafka  ,critical essays
- 12] chinthakalkkitayile salabham 2009 ,crtitical essays
- 13] basheerinte prayojanam 2010 ,critical essays
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